Zaki Mirza’s Blog

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… About software and beyond!

Late Night Bloggin’: Windows Live Mail vs GMail Part 1

I have been planning to write about this topic for a while now but couldnt get time to research and write. Anyways, i still dont have time and havnt researched a lot but from a lay man’s point of view (and from the point of view of a designer/developer that i am) let me compare the two (dominant) email services for the next few days.

I do not want to go into the history and background of the services. There is plenty of information about that available elsewhere. It is just “a google” away. I shall be focusing on the following major points keeping my post short and precise:

a) Graphical User Interface
b) Useability
c) Features
d) Spam Filtering
e) Anything else i can think of … and conclusion

This, by no means, is meant to discourage or create a bias about the two companies involved. (Microsoft and Google) and this is not a “Microsoft vs Google” post. Both are great companies which provide good set of services.

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Filed under: Comparisons, general, Late Night Blog, Live mail vs Gmail, , , , , ,

Uraan vs Bentley ..?

I worked at Uraan Software Solutions in summer of 2006 as a Business analyst. Two days ago, CEO Uraan, Ali Naqi asked on my post on working at bentley about the comparison of expereince in working at the two companies. Specifically he asked:

How was working at Bentley different from working at Uraan? How do the two companies compare in:
a. Size
b. Teams
c. Hierarchy
d. Nature of projects
e. Project processes

Firstly, my experience with both has been inspiring and exciting. Uraan, being a not-so-infant-but-still-small-young-and-energetic-company was great to work at for mostly different reasons than at Bentley. I’d go point wise and then summerize.

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Filed under: general, software, ,

Late Night Bloggin’: Bentley and the ‘double’ trouble quiz

Working at Bentley has been a great experience for me. Partly because of the great enviornment but mostly because of the problems I faced during coding one of the new features in the Microstation PlantSpace Designer Series. The problems ranged from  creating quick documentation solution to document lots of vb6 codebase in python to dealing with a massive Microstation API to solving a series of problems that required inventing new data-structures, dealing with graphs and adjacency lists and developing algorithms to traverse the graph in a specific manner which wernt supported in the API. (i shall be writing about them soon).

Since i was dealing with 3d elements, handling points in 3d space was unavoidable. Engineering applications (such as the CAD/CAM category, in which PSDS lies as well) are designed to cater a divesture of standards in terms of metrics used. In the core of the software though a uniform format is used to represent values. For example a point in 3d space can be represented in many differnet formats (inches, feet, fractions etc). The format used to represent the same point in the underlying software architecture in PSDS is usually a ‘double’ (since we’re working in C – or a subset of C called MDL: microstation developer language, and yes i was creating my own adjacency lists in C and traversing them recursively). So basically the x,y and z coordinates of the point are representated as a structure of 3 doubles.

One way to compare two points (and well the most obvious way) is to calculate the distance between the two points using the distance formula. Thats all well and solved and thats not the quiz. The quiz is, given two double values, how do you compare the two to N decimal places? In other words how would you compare two points to see if they are “close enough”. (and that can be anything from being equal to 5 decimal places or being absolutely equal).

Filed under: Late Night Blog, quiz, , ,

quiz #4: My Contextual Switch!

Here’s really deep down dirty one. Even i havnt been able to answer this one as such, but nonetheless here it goes. (I’m taking up the responsibility of being the Teacher Assistant for the operating systems course for a telecommunications batch, i shall try to answer this completely in a short while. Have your shot! )

How do you go about calculating the time it takes to context switch in a unix enviornment?

I read this question somewhere as a question asked in a google interview. Its really intresting and requires a deep knowledge and concept of the core system. (or so i guess?)

Filed under: linux, programming, quiz, , ,

Quiz #3: What if there were no ‘if’?

Last monday i reached office pretty late since i had to attend my lectures at univ. There was a power fluctuation problem in the whole building and the MIS had requested everyone not to turn on their PCs. So most of the people were either chilling in their cabins chatting or had left. I hung out for a while with a bunch of senior FAST graduates discussing some tecchie gossip and then i moved to the break room. There were some other employees sitting there and were discussing a very thoughtful problem. The problem being my quiz number 3. Its goes something like this:

Given a language that does not have an IF construct, how do you go on about executing different code over a condition? For example call code-block A if condition C is true, and B is condition C is false.

The discussion was going on among some 4-5 employees and since they were pretty seniour to me, (me being just another intern) i was un-noticed. Anyways, have your say in it and ill answer this shortly from my own perspective. (maybe its one of those interview questions, but then again its intresting).

Filed under: programming, quiz, ,

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